# What is the difference between distance and displacement?

Distance is the length actually traveled on a route while Displacement is the shortest distance (straight line distance) between the initial point and final point of the traveled path.

Distance is a scalar quantity and required to calculate speed. On the other hand, displacement is a vector quantity that has both magnitude and direction. Displacement is used to calculate the velocity of an object in motion.

## Understanding the difference between distance and displacement with an example

Now we will explain the difference between distance and displacement with an example. figure 1 [ Run from A to B and B to A ]

So if anybody runs a completely circular route once then the Distance traveled is equal to the circumference of the circle i.e. 2.π. R where R is the radius of the circle (and π is 22/7).

Say, for the circular track in figure 1 above, when someone runs from A to B and then B to A (following the given circular track) distance traveled can be obtained by the above formula, distance = 2.π. R

At the same time the Displacement = 0 because the final point(A) is the same as the initial point(A). figure 2 [ Run from A to B ]

Similarly, if the runner runs half of the circular track (A to B only) then the Distance traveled is half of the circumference of the circle = π.R

And the Displacement, in this case, is AB that is equal to 2R or the Diameter of the circle.

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What is the difference between distance and displacement?
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